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   gliding FAQs

gliding FAQs

  Is it difficult?
  How much does it cost?
  Do I have to join a club to try it?
  Can I buy a flight as a gift?
  What weather can you fly in?

  What happens when the wind stops?
  How does it fly without an engine?
  How long can you stay up?
  How high can you go?
  How far can you go?
  How fast do you fly?
  How many can fit in a glider?
  How much does a glider cost?
  Can you take them apart?
  How safe it is?
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Is it difficult?

 

  Is it difficult?

No! At a basic level, it requires a similar skill level to driving a car. Many would even say that it's easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much does it cost?

 

 

  How much does it cost?

Costs vary from club to club and depend on exactly what you are getting. Here are some rough guides: A trial lesson normally costs from about 25. A week's course will cost from 250. Annual membership of a club is normally between 150-400. Once you are a member of a club, you can normally pay for flying as you go - you pay for your launch (can be as low as 4 for a winch launch) and your time in the air (normally from about 20p per minute/12 per hour). Instruction is normally free. The total cost to go solo would normally be somewhere between 500-1000, but will very much depend on how often you do it, and of course how good you are!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I have to join a club to try it?

 

  Do I have to join a club to try it?

When you get a trial lesson, you will get temporary (normally one month's) membership of the club. Whether you join the club as a full member depends on how much you enjoyed your flight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I buy a flight as a gift?

 

  Can I buy a flight as a gift?

Yes, most clubs do trial lessons as a gift voucher - you can contact the club directly to find out more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What weather can you fly in?

 

  What weather can you fly in?

There are really only three things that will stop flying - rain (although, often if it's just showers you can fly between them), low cloud and strong winds (more than 30mph!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happens when the wind stops?

 

  What happens when the wind stops?

You may be surprised to find out that you don't need wind to fly! If you throw a paper aeroplane indoors, it still flies gracefully to the ground thanks to its aerodynamic shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does it fly without an engine?

 

  How does it fly without an engine?

Silently! But seriously, you are always coming down through the air (just like the paper aeroplane). The trick to staying up is to find air that is going up faster than you are coming down. Of course, you do need a little help to get airborne to begin with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How long can you stay up?

 

  How long can you stay up?

This very much depends on the weather on the day. Some days, the conditions may mean that you can't stay up, so your flight will be as long as it takes to reach the ground (maybe 10-15 minutes). On other days, it may be possible to stay up as long as there is daylight - people regularly do five-hour flights as part of their Silver badge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How high can you go?

 

  How high can you go?

On a typical flight, you may get a launch to 2000 feet, and may get as high as 5000 feet. However, the world height record (done in the USA) is as high as 50,000 feet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How far can you go?

 

  How far can you go?

This depends very much on weather and the glider performance. If the weather is not favourable, you won't go anywhere - you are restricted to the performance of the glider. A typical "glide ratio" of a glider is about 35:1 which means that for every foot of height they have, they can glide in a straight line for 35 feet. From 2000 feet, if you were to go in a straight line, you could go a little over 13 miles! If the weather is good, then you can use forms of "lift" to gain more height so that you can go further. The record in the UK is just over 1000 kilometres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How fast do you fly?

 

  How fast do you fly?

Typically you fly around between 50 and 70 knots (58-81mph) but gliders can go up to about 150 knots (173mph). On a cross country flight, where you have to stop and circle in thermals to gain height and glide between, average speeds of 45-70mph are normal. That's like flying from London to York and back in six hours - without an engine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many can fit in a glider?

 

  How many can fit in a glider?

There are two-seat gliders (which are used for instruction) and there are single-seat gliders (which you only move onto once you are good enough to fly solo!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much does a glider cost?

 

  How much does a glider cost?

This can vary hugely, depending on what you want! A very basic single-seat glider may only be a few hundred pounds. An older but still competitive glider may cost about 10,000, and a top-of-the-range racing glider can cost up to 100,000! It is very common for gliders to be syndicated to bring the costs down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Can you take them apart?

 

  Can you take them apart?

Yes. Many gliders live in trailers, and are very simply put together - often in only 10-15 minutes. The wings are normally held together by a very strong "mainpin", and can be taken off by two people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How safe it is?

 

 

  How safe it is?

As with any form of aviation, there is of course some risk involved. However, with proper training this risk is minimised. The gliders themselves are very strong, and generally we wear parachutes just in case anything goes wrong. In fact, as a rule, if you can wear a parachute then why not?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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